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The Myopia at Atlantic Stage 2

by Mónica de la Torre

It is about the articulation of the literary and physical voice that I write about here, after having seen David Greenspan’s sublimely written and performed The Myopia, produced by The Foundry Theater and closing this weekend, on February 7.


David Greenspan.

The spring issue goes to press in less than two weeks, so we’re at that stage in production in which the odd connections between the magazine’s features start surfacing. There are two references to ghost dances (in a piece on artist Joanna Malinowska by Jimbo Blachly and a review of Dan Graham’s Rock/Music Writings by R.H. Quaytman) and as many mentions of mathematician Henri Poincaré apropos of the exhibition For the Blind Man Looking for the Black Cat that Isn’t There and the figures who are part of avant-guitarist Keith Rowe’s pantheon.

Besides these, musings on voice keep coming up—the physical voice, our most distinctive, elusive human attribute, and voice in poetry and fiction. The aforementioned Rowe interviewed singer/songwriter David Sylvian for the spring issue, and at some point in the piece attempts to place Sylvian’s utterly unique baritone voice. He locates it somewhere within a peculiar triangulation of three other singers, yet Sylvian prefers not to get into the subject. Best not to elaborate on those attributes one was gifted with, those one didn’t choose. Sam Lipsyte, in a conversation with fellow fiction writer Christopher Sorrentino, praises the first-person’s inherent performativity. Lastly, in a formidable interview with Charles Bernstein conducted by Jay Sanders, the Language poet and master ventriloquist refers to his work as a play of voices.

It is about the articulation of the literary and physical voice that I write about here, after having seen David Greenspan’s sublimely written and performed The Myopia, produced by The Foundry Theater and closing this weekend, on February 7. Greenspan’s voice and its voicings star in The Myopia, re-awakening in me a sense of awe at the voice’s astounding plasticity. His delivery of a text equally Steinian, absurdist, self-referential while decidedly not postmodern, burlesque yet elevating the mundane to transcendent heights, render all set design elements but a chair and some water for him to occasionally hydrate absolutely useless. (He single-handedly carries the play for two hours.)

Greenspan’s voicings conjure multiple bodies, each in turn marking language, claiming it in their own particular ways—you can almost see them, imagine the garb they clothe themselves in, their scents. A giantess, a pathetic playwright undergoing severe writers’ block, Warren G. Harding and host of others… O, synesthesia! Isn’t voice always already a ghost? Stephen Connor, in Dumbstruck, a remarkable book on ventriloquism, writes of the voice as that which is most ours as it departs from us, as only when emitted and cast from our bodies does it come into existence, only to, thereafter, fade into silence.

Witness the shape-shifting corporealness of pure speech, avoid missing The Myopia! And read about The Myopia in the interview that Steven Drukman conducted with David Greenspan for our pages in 2003.

The Myopia will be playing at Atlantic Stage 2 through Sunday, Feburary 7th.

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